Penny Black: the World’s First Postage Stamp

Penny Black

The Penny Black – World’s First Postage Stamp

By Scott Bailey

In the 1830’s, mail in the United Kingdom of England and Ireland was paid for by the recipient of the mail. The amount charged for postal delivery was based upon the weight of the item as well as how far it had to travel. Most of the working population could not afford to receive mail from a distance and many just would not accept the delivery. With the proliferation of railways throughout the United Kingdom to support the growing factories during the Industrial Revolution, businesses and government realized that the debt-ridden postal system needed to be reformed.

In 1837 a schoolteacher named Rowland Hill proposed a prepayment system utilizing one cent stamps on postage. in 1839, the British Treasury announced a competition to design the first stamp. Penny BlackNone of the submissions were considered acceptable and a portrait of Queen Victoria was chosen instead. The Penny Black was this first, adhesive, postage stamp. The Penny Black has a simple black background with a profile of Queen Victoria in the center, the words “POSTAGE” and “ONE PENNY” along the top and bottom, respectively. The Penny Black was used for just over one year. The postage cancellation mark was in red ink, which was hard to see on the black stamp and also was easy to remove.

The Penny Red replaced the Penny Black in 1841 (utilizing black ink cancellation marks). Since over 68 million Penny Blacks were printed, many have survived and it is not a particularly rare stamp. As with all stamps, however, condition and whether or not it was ever used, determine a stamp’s value on the collectors’ market. A used Penny Black in poor condition can be found for under 10 Pounds (or 20 Dollars), sometimes significantly less. Just remember that whatever the quality of that Penny Black you own, you are holding an important piece of history that is much more that just another postage stamp.

Whether a beginner looking to start a collection, or a seasoned veteran looking to add a Penny Black to your collection, visit www.UKStampsAuctions.com for a wide variety of stamps of the United Kingdom.

Article Source: The Penny Black – World’s First Postage Stamp


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1840 PENNY BLACK used Great Britain stamp (letters MF) 3 margins
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1d Penny Black KC Used with Red MX 4 margins but has been repaired
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G.B. Victoria 1840 used 1d black with black Maltese Cross P-G
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G.B. Victoria 1840 used 1d black with pale red Maltese Cross J-J
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1840 GB QV 1d SG3 Grey-Black Plate 1a Mint/Mounted 4 margins (OB) Cat £15000
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GB QV range inc 1d black, 2d blues, 1d reds etc. (7 photos)
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GREAT BRITAIN QUEEN VICTORIA PENNY BLACK STAMP M D 1840 Maltese mark Blue/Black
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GB QV range in stockbook including 3 x 1d blacks, 2d blues, 1d reds etc.
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GB QV range inc 1d black, 2d blues, 1d reds, surface printed etc. (7 photos)
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ANTIQUE LETTER WITH PENNY BLACK STAMP MALTESE CROSS FRANKING 1841
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Penny Black Mounted Rubber Stamp VIOLETS
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QV PENNY BLACK (Q-1) USED RED MALTESE CROSS
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QV PENNY BLACK (G-D) 3 MARGINS BLACK MALTESE CROSS GOOD USED
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Penny Black Queen Victoria Stamp Red Maltese Cross Letters J-R
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QV PENNY GREYISH ? BLACK 3 MARGINS VERY GOOD USED
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1841 PENNY BLACK ON COVER TO EDINBURGH .
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